Good evening everyone. Welcome to the chat. My name is Dr. Kathleen Payne. I am a child psychologist. Please let me know any questions you might have. Please keep in mind that this chat is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a professional client-psychologist relationship.
They are going to react in different ways. Some kids will find comfort in returning to routines and being given extra reassurances. Other kids may show signs of anxiety and/or depression and need to have see a professional to help make sense of this.
There is a good chance that the child will hear something from a peer or adult at preschool. Let them know that some children were hurt the other day but the person responsible can no longer hurt anyone. Then remind them of how much their teachers care about them and how you know they are safe at school.
How school districts should address the issue is a bigger issue that I am not comfortable addressing. I have confidence that each district is assessing their situation and will handle the situation accordingly. Teachers need support and reassurance just like all of us do. I imagine they will find comfort and support being with their colleagues and students.
Before sitting in on class, I would encourage you to think about if the reason is for you to feel better or the child to feel better. If the reason is for the child, then talk with the child's teacher and school counselor who I am confident are used to these sorts of situations and will be able to offer sound advice.
I do not think it is appropriate for me to address issues of gun control in this chat, but thank you for joining us.
The American Psychological Association has useful information on their website at apa.org. Also the National Child Traumatic Stress Network at nctsn.org has useful information.
If a child needs assistance, look for a provider that specializes in trauma. You can ask your insurance provider for references. Also you can look at psychologytoday.com that has an online therapist directory.
For those of you who might be wondering about what to look for to see if your child or teen is having a difficult time with the event, here are some indications to consider. For any age look to see if your child is more irritable than usual, is having trouble sleeping, experiencing nightmares, has somatic complaints like headaches or stomachaches, or has problems concentration at school.
For preschools and early elementary school age, they may take a step back developmentally such as wetting the bed or sucking their thumb. They may also be afraid to sleep alone at night. Their play may not seem relaxed as usual. They may keep playing out scary scenes without any resolution to the play.
For older elementary and middle school children some additional signs to notice are if their repeatedly express concerns about their safety even after being provided repeated reassurance. They may express overwhelming fear. They may also want to keep retelling the event and talking about it with everyone they interact with.
For adolescents look for withdraw from friends and family members. Also watch for an increase in risk-taking behaviors like drug use or reckless driving.
We have about 5 minutes remaining should anyone have any questions.
All of us may exhibit some of these symptoms for a few days as we adjust and process what has happened. If they symptoms last longer than two weeks or are overwhelming to the youth, then consider seeking a professional consultation.
Thank you everyone. Should you need assistance please feel free to contact me at my office number, 440-476-8027. Have a great evening and tell your children you love them.